Babies & Birthdays

I knew that it was a girl the moment I took a home pregnancy test. Every fiber in my being told me so, and when I finally got the phone call with the results of our amniocentesis I was not at all surprised when our genetic counselor told me it was a girl. I daydreamed for months about the strong, sassy and independent girl she would be.  And now exactly five years later she’s everything I thought she would be and more.  She is kind and thoughtful and full of heart. But she is strong-willed; she speaks her mind and doesn’t care much about what other people think.

I think many people; when they have a daughter, worry. Worry because girls are weaker, are not as able to take care of themselves and are more prone to heartbreak. Me? I laugh at the thought. In fact my worry is more for the people in this world who stand in her way, or hurt the people she loves, or try to force to do something she doesn’t want to do.

It’s really hard to express how much she means to me and how totally shocked I am at how fast these last five years have gone by.

When she was first-born, I was terribly concerned with how she was breastfeeding. Mainly because my son would feed for close to 45 minutes on each breast and during the first couple of weeks I had a hard time getting him to latch on correctly and to really get the hang of breastfeeding. It was a lot of work.

But my daughter, she latched on instantly. And her feeding ran about 10-15 minutes, TOTAL. I just knew she must be starving and couldn’t figure out why she was feeding for these short spans of time.

When I took her in for her first exam she had gained over a pound. I asked the lactation consultant how that was possible when she was hardly eating. She laughed. “It’s not that she’s not eating, it’s that she’s eating very efficiently.”

It’s been that way ever since. Every time I think I’m failing, she shows me I’m not.

I can’t believe she’s five today. My baby. Quite possibly my last child. Five. She’s not a baby anymore. There are no diapers, or changing tables, or bottles. No high chairs or cribs. I only have kids now, no babies in this house anymore.

Oh, who am I kidding? She’ll always be my baby. Whether she’s five or fifty.

Pictures

Most of you on Facebook may have noticed the retro thing going on with people’s profile pictures. Well considering how many dozens photo albums and picture boxes I have stocked full of millions of pictures, I thought it would be fun to pull out some old pictures, scan them and then tag all my old school friends. But instead I ended up spending an entire evening pouring through every single photo album and photo box I own.

I have pictures that of course begin with me as a baby, my childhood, teen years and into the years my husband and I were dating, our wedding and of course there were tons of both pregnancies and the kids all the way through now. My mind is kind of racing full of all the memories. It’s so weird to look back and see how much I’ve grown and changed. And even weirder to see how much the kids have grown and changed. I swear it was just yesterday that they were born. Then again I would’ve sworn that it was only yesterday that I got married or graduated high school…

There were so many pictures that just took me back. Friends and family that have long since passed away, friends that are still in my life today. So many people and so many memories.

Nothing puts your life into a sharper focus then looking back over your life in pictures. It reminds you of where you come from and who you are. It also reminded me of just how fast my babies are growing and that I should take time to slow down and smell the roses with them more often.

My dad took this picture when I was in elementary school. He told me to picture the woman I’d be when I was 30 and to say hi to that woman. And now here I am, 32, looking at that same picture, saying hi back to that girl I once was.

I never did scan any pictures and upload them to Facebook. Maybe tomorrow…

Your Parenting Style and How You’re Doing it Wrong

You're Doing It Wrong.Some of you may have already read the recent article in Time Magazine regarding “Helicopter Parenting” and the many blog posts and articles that have since been written in support and to dispute the piece. Well I couldn’t help myself and had to chime in with my own question regarding the many different types of parenting that are constantly being praised and disputed these days, which is what about just plain old parenting?

Does everything we do, as parents have to have a label? It seems that as parents we can’t catch a break. No matter what we do we’re faced with someone telling us why we are wrong for doing it.

Helicopter/Overparenting

Take the whole “Helicopter Parenting” thing. So what if we hover more than previous generations? We are the same 30-year-old kids raised in the first generation of  “stranger danger.” We had key words and watched some of the most high profile kidnappings in America unfold right in front of us on television. Michaela Garrett, Adam Walsh, Amber Swartz, Ilene Misheloff (I’ll take extra overprotective credit for THREE of those high profile cases being near my own community and around my own age). Of course we are careful about where our kids go and what they do.

I’m not going to apologize for being overprotective in this world. According to the World Health Organization Global cancer rates will increase by 50% by 2020. So YES, of course I’m going to be aware of what kind of chemicals are in products I’m buying and feeding my kids on. And YES I’m going to be uptight about car seats and BPA plastic filled bottles.

But is there a line? Articles like the one in Time got me thinking. OF COURSE there is a line between being protective and being extreme (doing your kids homework and stalking their coaches). I try to avoid judging other people’s parenting choices. It’s important to me that all moms, especially new moms, feel strong and secure in the choices they make that make sense for their family.

Fads in Parenting

Now I of course don’t condone moms wrapping their kids in bubble wrap and keeping them safely protected until after college graduation (though I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the idea hadn’t crossed my mind) but I urge moms to trust their instincts and ignore the fads in parenting choices.

Don’t skip out on Vaccines just because you heard someone say those vaccines are going to give your child autism. Read up first. Read about the increase in childhood diseases, read about the research that has debunked the autism studies and decide THAT WAY.  Don’t decide to breastfeed or not to breastfeed based on what all your girlfriends from high school did with their kids. Make that decision based on what works for you and your baby. And unless the advice is coming from someone who actually sleeps in your house every night, ignore anyone who tells you where you and your kids should be sleeping. It’s your house, your bed, and your sleep.

And to mom’s who judge, shut up. Just because a mom chooses not to fill every waking moment with extra curricular activities doesn’t make her less of a mom than you. And hey homebody moms, just because a mom DOES take part in every volunteer event and extracurricular team sport in your city doesn’t make her an overbearing judgmental mom. So bite your lip.

Stop judging ladies and please stop making your parenting decisions based on what’s cool at the time. My God, we are the generation of feathered hair and acid wash jeans. We put Vanilla Ice at the top of the charts for God’s sake. We cannot be trusted as a group when it comes to what’s in and what’s not. So decide for yourself. Skip the biased blogs and websites, read a few medical journals. And I don’t know… ask your pediatrician maybe…

We will all have bad days as moms. We will all momentarily lose our child in a crowd and have an instant of dread. We will all yell at our child over something stupid once in a while. We all make wrong choices. So, don’t judge. Just do the best you can. And don’t be ashamed when you grab your older child’s hand in a crowd. Forgive yourself when you lose it and offer your child an extra mile of patience next time. And when you make a bad choice, learn from it and move on.

What kind of parenting style do I follow in my house? The Best–I-Can Parenting. And that’s all there really is.

Breastfeeding Sucks.

Warning: Some Content in the following post may be unsuitable for people who don’t like talking about cracked nipples!


That’s right, I said it. Breastfeeding sucks. That was one of the greatest pieces of advice I ever picked up as a new mom.

Let me back up just a bit. For me deciding to breastfeed was never really much of a decision. I knew I was going to breastfeed the moment we decided to start trying for kids. When I finally got pregnant I bought all the books, read every magazine article and even took a breastfeeding class at the local clinic. I was going to be the best breastfeeder EVER.

As it turned out the books, the class, and all the magazine articles left out a number of things. What all those great breaftedding articles didn’t talk about was my 30 hour labor and my 10lb baby boy. They neglected to mention the effect that a 30 hour labor and the horrific tearing that took 20 minutes to stitch up would have on my ability to sit down and breastfeed on the early weeks. Or how that discomfort would make it harder for my milk to let down so the feedings would take even longer.

They said my nipples might crack & bleed. They said engorgement may cause a little “discomfort.” What they didn’t say was that the pain involved might actually make me forget about the pain of childbirth.

These resources also listed some of the pitfalls of breastfeeding. Like mastitis, thrush and the continuous leaking from my beasts. They didn’t explain how excruciating these things could be, especially when they all happened to me one right after the other.

Needless to say in those early weeks of motherhood I was feeling pretty beat down by breastfeeding. I felt like I was doing something wrong. I also felt like I couldn’t get a break. I really wanted breastfeeding to be this beautiful and mystical experience for me and my son. It just wasn’t working out that way.

Then somewhere along the way I came across a blog post online, I don’t remember where exactly now. But in this post the woman said, “Anyone who tells you breastfeeding is easy is a big liar! But if you stick it out, it gets better.”

And I did stick it out. Thanks to ice packs, lanolin, antibiotics and ibuprofen my problems passed. And breastfeeding did turn out to be one of the best things I ever did. I went on to breastfeed my son until he weaned himself at 14 months, even pumping for a whole year once I went back to work.

When I had my daughter a couple of years later I breastfed her as well. Oddly enough other than gritting my teeth through some sore nipples, it was pretty easy the second time around. Then again I think the breastfeeding Gods owed me one.

So why tell this story almost 6 years later on my blog? Because somewhere out there is a new mom with cracked nipples and a hungry baby. And she’s feeling like maybe, just maybe, it’s just too hard.

Well honey, it is hard. In fact it sucks. But it gets better. And it’s worth every ache and pain.

Posted with LifeCast